Monday, October 22, 2007


I'll be the first to admit it. There was a time of my life when I wasn't very good with directions. Even now I do better with, "turn left by the red barn and go for two miles" rather than "turn east on 35th Ave.".

One of my most embarrassing moments was a time I was lost with my twin sister. We were driving three hours south of our hometown on our way to my boyfriend's home for the weekend.

I usually visited him with a friend of mine who was double-dating a friend of his. While my friend did the driving, I did the talking-and-not-paying-attention part. But this time it was Gail and I, and we were on our own. No map, no written directions. Just my vague notion that we turned left by the big round silver thing (which turned out to be a grain bin :)) and the thought that I would recognize land marks as we got closer.

Of course my dad asked me, one last time, if I thought I would know how to get down there. Knowing he wouldn't allow us to go if I hesitated in my answer, I nodded vigorously in the affirmative. All lights turned green -- and we were down the driveway chattering like the seventeen-year-old magpies we were.

It was going well until we turned by that big round silver thing and the landmarks I expected didn't appear. Hmm. Maybe we should turn around and come at it at a different angle. Ya think? Yeah, we thought. But that direction didn't work either.

Now this was in the days before cell phones. And this was also in the days that my stubborn pride would not allow me to stop and call my boyfriend or to stoop so low as to buy a map at the nearest gas station and admit I was lost.

Down in this part of Minnesota there is a lot of farm land and not a lot of houses. The sky was turning dark, so when we reached a town that had a vaguely familiar name to it, we stopped. My sister and I ran in to a gas station and asked the equally naive seventeen-year-old magpie behind the counter where we were and how to get where we were going. Amid the neon pink bubble gum, we were pointed out the door and told to go on 'that road down there'.

And yes, we took her word for it and started down the road. I can roll my eyes now, but at the time I was speeding along in the dark without the faintest idea whether or not I was going the right way and praying that I'd suddenly end up in front of my boyfriend's house -- and expecting just that to happen.

Well, to make a long story shorter, we ended up near the Iowa border, which, do I even need to tell you, was NOT the direction we were supposed to be going. Big surprise there, huh.

Back into our little gray and red Horizon and off we went down the road again. This time we did end up in my boyfriend's hometown but by now it was completely dark and I had no idea how to get from town to his house which was ten miles into the boonies.

So, I stuffed my pride in the back seat and found a phone to call him. To his credit he was frantic with worry. He gave explicit directions to his farm and made me repeat them. How we drove right past is still a mystery to me . . .

By the time we found another phone, he made me promise not to move. He jumped in his truck and came to me. I don't know if I crawled over to him or not, but by the time he'd enveloped my in his arms I felt like it. I was now about 4 hrs late and he was simply glad he could call my dad and say we were safe and sound - albeit thoroughly embarrassed.

To his credit again, my understanding boyfriend became my beloved and understanding husband, Travis. He's certainly had to fit the job description after the broken tailgate, the shattered window, the busted toilet tank cover, and the hole in the house siding . . . and yes, they were all accidents!

My point in telling this long-winded story is that directions and I have never been on the best of terms. But how often do we travel through life without directions, either physically or spiritually. How many times do we stare into a bleak future and have no idea where to turn or who to ask?

Isn't it funny that the very God who created direction and the best book on directions you can own, is often the last one we turn to. God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). Asking our directions from Him should be the first thing we do. Come to think of it -- we'd never be lost again . . .